I'm building some raised beds in the back yard of my new place. The available area is pretty limited given the massive tree that shades most of the yard, but I've got room to create about 200 sqft. of beds that will get good sun. The area of the yard that gets the best light is actually along the south facing wall of the garage. there is an area approximately 5ft wide and 20ft long where there was once a garden but has more recently been a dog run. I plan to build a 3x20 bed there along the brick wall of the garage and I'd like some help deciding what to plant there for the summer months. Come autumn I plan to erect some framing and plastic and use the passive heat from the wall to have a really nice winter garden greenhouse, but for now i'm having trouble with how to deal with what will be a really hot space during the summer.
I very much want to grow dry beans like black beans, so my first instinct is to fill the space with pole beans that will tolerate the heat and dry well against the wall. i'll also benefit from using the wall to attach the strings for support. i'll benefit again from the legumes fixing nitrogen to the soil for my winter gardens. is that the best answer? it's simple and as long as i choose a black bean variety that will tolerate the intense heat i'll be fine. any ideas to make it more complicated? it's the space that gets the best light and it's also the largest single growing area i have so I really want to max it out. I'm a novice, so i'm excited to hear all the great ideas i know some of you have!
Yeah, I'd be wary of the high temperatures you might get. A couple weeks ago, with ambient temperatures around 72 F and the sun shining on a stucco wall painted white, some pots I had next to the wall had soil temperatures around 100F! It might be less bad actually in the summer with the wall in the shadow of the eaves.
Once the wall is covered, then the heat affect will diminish. You can lay a white trelis next to it to take the edge off the affect to start. Dry beans sounds like a fine idea - but I'm not from Colorado . Grape should be able to climb the wall and should also be deciduous so you can get that winter heat. Supposedly there's a cold-tolerant passion vine. That may also work for you. Hops is another one that might work, if you like beer. If it doesn't freeze, then you can get hyacinth bean going. As for soil heat, you may want to get the vine going and then plant the basal area of the wall with another crop to shade the soil there and make sure it keeps moist. That will help with soil temp. Same with mulching or strawing. Though it will probaly still be hot. Planting a little farther from the wall and leaning trelix to take the vines there may also help. Just throwing around ideas. Good luck!
I'd definitely look into working in some fruiting bushes with a more southern zoning.
Denver is around zone 5b. Try to take advantage of the extra heat from the brick and plant some stuff from the 7a range.
Thank you so much for all these great suggestions! So much to think about. I should have mentioned that I'm renting this home, so I'm not inclined to plant any perennials, but I love the ideas for fruiting bushes and trees. I did consider sweet potatoes or kumara David, and I'm guessing it would be warm enough, especially with the plan for the greenhouse lean-to going up in the fall. I think what I'm going to try is temporarily covering the wall with something white. I'll plant my cherokee trail of tears black beans about 2 feet off the wall and run them at an angle. I'd like to plant something a bit farther out that will help shade the soil, and i was thinking peppers would be perfect because they love the heat, but i've learned that beans and peppers dont mix well. any suggestions!? everything that works well with beans seems to not do well with the heat. i could try an early and very tight planting of greens (lettuce and spinach mostly) to be replaced with a cover crop when they start to bolt. that's the best idea i've got so far. here's what i'm planning on planting this season:
broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, arugula, tomatillo, green onions, and zucchini, along with some herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, oregano, etc.
You may get some thermal mass effect from the brick wall as well, particularly when temps start to roller coaster in early to mid fall. The brick will absorb radiant heat during those 80-90 degree days, and slowly release it as the ambient temp cools, which could be useful when you start getting freezes. This could be especially useful if coupled with a low tunnel approach to the bed, which could be theoretically done by placing hoop anchors into the wall with masonry screws.
Beyond that, I'd definitely suggest that short-season crops are going to be a good fit due to the total sunlight reaching the bed, shaded or otherwise. Being up close and personal to the Front Range means that early sunsets regardless of season, and after one summer in Denver you should realize how fast temps start to drop once the sun goes behind the mountain.
Ask me about my grandchickens!!!
He was expelled for perverse baking experiments. This tiny ad is a model student: